5 Home Improvements To Make Your Home More Sustainable

Updating a home can be costly, but if you’re increasing the home’s resale value and its overall efficiency, it only makes sense to do some renovations. Moreover, if you can reduce your future living expenses by making these improvements, it makes sense to invest in creating a green home.

Since the price of products continually rises and the cost of a hiring a professional home improvement company will only increase, it’s a good idea to make improvements now. You’ll enjoy the saving earlier, over a longer period, and you’re taking a step toward reducing your family’s carbon footprint and adding a value to your home at the same time.

5 Home Improvements To Make Your Home More Sustainable

Energy Efficient Windows

Depending on your region’s climate, Energy Star qualified replacement windows may reduce your energy bill as much as 24 percent. This includes your cooling costs in the summer, as low-e treated windows can decrease the solar heat gain by 50 percent over untreated, single pane windows without significantly reducing the admitted daylight.

Energy Star Appliances

Technology has really made advances in the world of residential appliances. When it’s time to replace your appliances, make sure they have the Energy Star seal of approval. Your appliances typically account for about 20 percent of your household’s annual energy consumption. With Energy Star qualified appliances, you’ll notice a reduction in your gas, electricity and water bills.

A new refrigerator will use up to 40 percent less energy and an Energy Star dishwasher can save up to 41 percent of energy usage. Washing machines have dual savings with 40 to 50 percent less energy use and approximately 55 percent less water use than your old washer.

Programmable Thermostats

To save up to 10 percent on your heating and cooling costs, install a programmable thermostat to your furnace/air conditioning system. By automatically reducing the temperature when you’re at work or asleep, you’ll see immediate results on your energy bill.

These thermostats have multiple settings, so you can program different settings for not only the time of day but also for weekends or other times you’re normally away from home. For unexpected time away from home, remote temperature control is a perfect way to regulate your home’s heating and cooling.

Proper Insulation

Surprisingly, many homes were built without insulation well into the mid-20th century, and many late-century homes are under-insulated. If your home has no insulation or is under-insulated, adding adequate insulation can save you from 10 to 50 percent on your heating costs.

Blanket insulation in attics is easy and cost effective. Blown-in foam and cellulose are used in walls of existing structures. Don’t forget that your home loses heat in all directions. Not only do the walls and attic need insulation, the bottom of your home also needs insulation. By insulating the floor and basement walls, you may save up to 30 percent of the energy used to heat your home.

Low-Flow Plumbing Fixtures

The biggest water guzzler in your home is your toilet. Those flushes can account for up to 30 percent of the water you use. Low-flow and dual-flush commodes can save a tremendous amount of water and significantly reduce your water bill.

That daily shower can use up to 12 percent of your annual water consumption. Standard showerheads use about 2.5 gpm (gallons per minute,) while a low-flow WaterSense showerhead provides water at 2.0 gpm or less. This saves not only the water you use but also the energy cost of heating the water.

A washing machine may use up to 15 percent of the annual water consumption for a typical family. This may be as much as 9,000 gallons of water. Switching to an Energy Star washer may reduce your water consumption by 43 percent and your electric consumption by 63 percent.

Value For Today And Tomorrow

Adding incentive to your remodeling plans, there are federal tax credits for the purchase of qualifying energy-efficient products and systems. This includes items like insulation, windows, central air conditioning, heat pumps, furnaces and water heaters. Your local gas or electric company may also offer rebates on select products.

For the present, you’ll see serious savings from your investment. These reductions will continue as long as you own your home. As a bonus, when you decide to sell, the upgrades and updates you’ve done to your house can add to the value of your home, allowing you to maximize your asking price and give your property a broader appeal.

Bill Gordon is a freelance writer who likes writing articles that are covering home, family and eco related topics. He has contributed to numerous blogs and websites. When he is not writing he enjoys driving spots cars.

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